CANADIAN PROVINCE WRITES OFF DEBT INCURRED IN INFAMOUS ONLINE GAMBLING VENTURE (Update)
Cost to the taxpayer at least Cdn1.5 million, says Auditor General.
A report from the Auditor General of the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island has revealed that late last year the provincial government finally wrote off $1,125,131 as a bad debt flowing from its abortive and secretive attempt to partner with a local tribe in setting up an online gambling regulatory and licensing jurisdiction.
The AG's report indicates that the bulk of the write off is in respect of a "loan" granted to the Mi’kmaq Confederacy tribe which included an unusual clause stipulating the Confederacy would never be responsible for repayment. Repayments were supposed to come from revenue generated by the venture, but it never became a reality…and the AG suspects that further costs could surface, taking the total deficit to $1.5 million or more.
The debacle has resulted in stricter financial disclosure rules being introduced with which government ministers and their departments will have to comply – especially regarding loan and other write-offs of taxpayer monies.
The total amount of unpaid government loans that have been written off by Crown corporations in PEI in this first round of disclosures is more than Cdn$13.4 million, and includes some debts dating back to 2001.
Whether the officials and politicians involved in the Mi’kmaq debacle will ever be held personally accountable is open to conjecture.